Whitehall seeks trade expert to lead “masterclasses” in wake of Brexit vote
Joint FCO and DIT recruitment campaign offers up to £117,800 a year for new faculty within Diplomatic Academy
The Foreign Office has launched a hunt for a trade negotiation expert to help bolster the civil service's skills in the wake of Britain's vote to leave the European Union.
A joint Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Trade recruitment drive – spurred on by the post-referendum need to boost the UK’s negotiating capacity – seeks a dean for a new Trade Policy and Negotiations Faculty, which has been allocated a £6m budget and will form part of the FCO's Diplomatic Academy.
Building trade negotiation capability in the civil service will be no mean feat after four decades in which the UK has handed over responsibility for striking trade deals to the EU, and the government is offering up to £117,800 a year plus benefits for the role.
In the aftermath of the June 23 referendum result, former FCO chief Sir Simon Fraser predicted “hundreds” of staff with the right policy and negotiation skills would be required to fill the gap created by the EU's proscribing of bilateral trade deals.
According to the job specification, the new dean will be required to work a 22-hour week for a two-year secondment, during which time they will be responsible for overseeing the faculty’s programme delivery.
It says the government’s “ambitious vision for building cross-Whitehall capability on trade” will require the dean to create and deliver a curriculum ranging from basic knowledge of trade concepts to bespoke learning for those likely to lead future negotiations.
It adds that the faculty’s services must be accessible to all departments and embassies, and the role will include personal responsibility for delivering trade “masterclasses” to senior audiences and securing “a wide range of high profile speakers”.
According to the FCO and DIT, the successful candidate must have detailed knowledge of trade policy issues and the international trading “architecture” and a “senior network” that spans government, academia and business.
Perhaps surprisingly, direct experience of trade negotiations is described as “desirable”, rather than essential, as is a knowledge of Whitehall and experience of developing learning and development programmes.
Prospective candidates have until November 16 to apply for the position, with interviews expected to take place before the end of the month.
The job specification describes the dean role as being “line-managed from within the FCO” but accountable to a cross-Whitehall Trade Faculty Steering Group, comprising directors in the FCO, DIT and Department for Exiting the EU.
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